The She Spot by Lisa Witter and Lisa Chen - Read Online
The She Spot
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Offers concrete, field-tested advice for helping nonprofits, social advocacy organizations, and political campaigns connect more effectively with women
Includes examples from both the for-profit and non-profit sectors
Written by top executives from the largest public interest communication firm in the country
The secret to changing the world is hidden in plain sight—in fact, it’s half the population. Women vote more, volunteer more, and give to more charities than men do. They control over half of the total wealth in America. Corporations have long recognized the growing power of woman and have been targeting them for years. The She Spot is a practical and provocative primer showing how nonprofits and social change organizations can do it too.
Lisa Witter and Lisa Chen reveal surprising insights into women’s real social priorities (for example, in one poll only 7% of women identified “protecting reproductive choice," supposedly the women’s issue, as a top priority for Congress). They describe four core principles—care, control, connect, and cultivate—for designing messages that will resonate with women of all ages and backgrounds. And using case histories from companies like Home Depot, T-Mobile and Kellogg’s as well as nonprofits like, The American Lung Association and The Environmental Defense Fund, they explain precisely how to put these four principles into practice.
This book makes the case that simply painting your marketing campaign “pink” and calling it a day will miss the mark with most women. Witter and Chen show that you can expand your outreach to connect with women in addition to men—think both/and, not either/or. You’ll raise more money and recruit more supporters for your cause. In the end, those who hit the “She Spot” claim the power to create a better, brighter world for all of us.
Published: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. on
ISBN: 9781609944285
List price: $24.95
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More Praise for The She Spot

"The principles of Marketing to Women are as true for social change as they are for products and brands. I applaud the Lisas—Witter and Chen—for applying them to such a good cause. Women are always striving to improve the world, and their book lays out the case convincingly."

— Marti Barletta, Founder, the TrendSight Group, and

author of Marketing to Women and PrimeTime Women

Finally, the book I’ve been waiting for that connects the dots between the research on what women want and actionable ways to reach them. I recommend it to any nonprofit or political candidate who wants to tap into the women’s vote and their power as donors and activists.

— Celinda Lake, President, Lake Research Partners, and

coauthor of What Women Really Want: How American

Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and

Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live

"If you’re in the business of social change, you need the information in The She Spot. Transforming the world can only happen if you understand what this book has to say about what women value, how they operate, and how important they are to making change happen."

— Barbara A. Brenner, Executive Director, Breast Cancer Action

"The She Spot proves that women are at the forefront of power and change and shows executives of all types how to reach them. Finally, concrete steps to better tapping women’s potential."

— Ilana Goldman, President, Women’s Campaign Forum

"I am buying a copy for everyone I have ever worked with! The authors prove that marketing to women is so much more than turning everything pink, and most importantly, The She Spot tells you how."

— Morra Aarons-Mele, blogger and Political Director,

Want to connect with the rising tide of world-changing women? Ditch the pink logos, petunias, and pandering. Let this book show you how to supercharge your campaign, company, or community with powerful stories, open and insightful conversation, and opportunities for action that actually fit the way smart women live in the 21st century.

— Alex Steffen, Executive Editor,

This book taps into a truth that labor organizers learn in the shops: women don’t just hope and wait for change, they fight for it. When motivated and mobilized, women do change the world, and this book gives us the tools to make it happen.

— Amanda Cooper, Director of Communications, UNITE HERE!

"‘Add women, change everything.’ That’s The White House Project’s prescription for transformation. The change we seek so passionately can only be delivered by adding our nation’s most untapped natural resource. The She Spot is ‘spot on’ about how we get there."

— Marie Wilson, President, The White House Project,

and author of Closing the Leadership Gap: Add Women, Change Everything

"By claiming ‘they are the audience,’ The She Spot is the book that gives women the opportunity to claim their space as key agents of social change. In return, this is a must read for those who want to change the world and believe that the road to success is making sure women are at the table and active."

— Christine Grumm, President and CEO,

Women’s Funding Network

This book is a brilliant no-brainer that unlocks a treasure chest of fascinating insights. It’s sure to generate an ‘aha’ moment for save-the-worlders everywhere.

— Ricken Patel, Executive Director,



Why Women are the Market for Changing the World —and How to Reach Them

Lisa Witter and Lisa Chen

Foreword by Gary Hirshberg, CEO Stonyfield Farm

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

San Francisco

a BK Business book

The She Spot

Copyright © 2008 by Lisa Witter and Lisa Chen

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed Attention: Permissions Coordinator, at the address below.

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

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First Edition

Hardcover print edition ISBN 978-1-57675-472-6

PDF e-book ISBN 978-1-57675-783-3

IDPF ISBN 978-1-60994-428-5


Cover design by Leslie Waltzer, Crowfoot Design

Text design and production by Detta Penna

Copyediting by Kathleen Rake

For my parents, for teaching love by living love.

Lisa W.

For my mother, for all she has taught me.

Lisa C.



I have coached competitive soccer for 12 years. My first eight years were primarily spent with boys ranging from 9 to 19 years old as my two sons, now 19 and 17, progressed from the hornet-swarm stage where the entire team followed the ball, until they exceeded my ability to teach them anything new. For the last half-dozen years, I’ve mostly led my daughter’s teams of girls aged 11-16. The only things that have united these two experiences are the uniforms, turf, balls, and nets. Every other aspect has been so completely different that I’m convinced I’ve actually coached two different species.

Coaching boys was pretty cut and dried. It was essentially a matter of channeling their testosterone so that the 11 individuals on the field actually managed to move the ball in one direction and toward the goal. They each got the goal part from a very young age. They were mostly all capable of putting their heads down and plowing up the field, until they pounded the poor ball or some opposing kid. The challenge was to get them to remember that they were not alone on the field and that they needed to operate in tandem with their mates. In other words, the dilemma was how to mold them into a team. My pre-game and half-time speeches about how to cooperate and work together have always yielded mostly monosyllabic and undecipherable grunts. Even today, as I watch my son and many of my former players on their college varsity teams, I still have no clue what is going on between their ears.

The experience with the girls could not have been more different. x The day I took over as coach of my daughter’s team, I was stunned by how naturally and harmonically the girls instantly formed into a squad. The I’s disappeared seamlessly into a we as they selflessly passed the ball in a cooperative dance. And when I spoke, they listened, asked questions and—imagine this—even responded. There was never any guessing about where their heads were at for they were VERY open to discussing the process. However, getting them to focus on the game, and the goal, has been entirely another challenge.

Soccer is a team game, and these girls have all of the skills and instincts to function as a group. But that harmony can disappear in one snap of the finger depending on who said or did what to whom. With the boys, there is only one feeling brought on to the field and that is an utter hatred of their opponent. Their basic instinct is to kill, topple, and maim from starting to ending whistle.

But the girls refuse to leave their feelings on the sidelines. They bring a whole new, complex, and unpredictable set of emotions into the game with them. They can hate or love their opponents, their team-mates, the refs, coaches, parents, or the dogs barking in the neighborhood. If they are losing or tied, or if they don’t like their opponents’ looks or behaviors, they can be twice as vicious as the guys, but if they are winning by too much, the empathy kicks in and they will often help a knocked-over opponent get back up. The team’s emotional tenor can swing violently over the course of a match.

Unlike the boys, the girls’ worst injuries have been of the emotional sort. When one boy’s ankle gets banged up, we lose him, but when one of the girls gets her spirit wounded, I can lose the entire team in a swift empa-thetic cyclone that strikes within seconds.

There’s another big difference between my soccer boys and girls. Ask the boys the score and they can tell you in seconds. Ask the girls the score and you get 11 different answers. But ask which teammate went to the dance last night, who is sitting with whom in the stands, how many opponents have braces on their teeth, or what their coach is wearing, and they can tell you these things in exquisite detail. They are serial connectors—to eachother and everything that is around them.

My wife is the same way. I can be at a gathering for four hours and have no clue about the personal histories of anyone in the room, whereas Meg can tell me the life stories of most people there within 30 minutes of arriving. xi

It is with these constantly recurring observations and experiences that I can vouch for the inherent power of women to emote and empathize, to connect to one another and operate on an intuitive level that is entirely foreign to guys. And as a founder/CE-Yo of a national brand that depends completely on building an emotional bond with my mostly female consumers, I am deeply convinced that this insight can lead to a powerful mobilization of economic and political power. But this is not a power to be taken for granted, for the sword can swing both ways. Building a bond of loyalty with women requires an absolute and unwavering fealty to the virtues that the brand or product stands for. Breach that contract once by compromising or wavering from a religious observance of those virtues, and like my soccer girls, the harmony can disappear in a heart beat.

Stonyfield Farm is celebrating 25 years in business. We have grown an average of three to four times faster than has the entire U.S. yogurt category over the last 18 years. We are now the largest organic yogurt brand in the world and the third largest U.S. yogurt brand. As I’ve reflected on the reasons for our success, I have developed a thesis that I have captured in my new book Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World,

Lisa Witter and Lisa Chen present an argument that is entirely in harmony with my brand-building experience. Stonyfield has achieved these remarkable growth rates with a marketing budget that is practically a rounding error in comparison to those of our leading competitors. To be clear, our successes have nothing to do with any type of advertising or traditional consumer acquisition strategy. Ours is not an intellectual relationship with our consumers based on features and benefits. We have instead created what I call a handshake with our mostly women consumers—a bond of trust, comfort, and loyalty that is immensely powerful. Ours is a word-of-mouth brand, built on the strength of satisfied consumers telling others about their yogurt brand.

We have connected with our audience of connectors, and the benefits have been entirely mutual. We have fed them and they have fed us, and among the results is that the money we would have spent on advertising has instead been invested in our yogurts, to achieve better taste and health. We also use profits to convert farms to organic methods that are not harmful to the earth, and, through our profits-for-the-planet program, we make substantial donations to countless charities. All these investments have created a bond of loyalty with our alert, empathetic xii customers who of course want to feel better about not only what they put into their and their families’ bodies, but about the brands and companies they support as well.

This really is not rocket science. After all, loyalty is the holy grail of consumer products, brands, or political candidates. The least expensive way to obtain your next purchase or vote is to get a current customer to buy again. And when a consumer is loyal, and feels rewarded, she tells her network. Not only is that endorsement far more powerful than any media spend or bundle of gross rating points, but it can become contagious with a life of its own, spreading from community to community, much like the many examples of viral marketing you’ll read about in these pages.

It’s not science, but it is art. Building and maintaining loyalty requires that you never breach the bond of trust you’ve established with your connected consumers. It is about being honest. It is about never promising more than you can deliver, and always delivering on your promises. And it is about heart. The mostly female audience we serve needs to know that we are genuinely trying to make the world a better place. As long as we keep investing in activities that protect and restore their health and the health of the planet, they will remain on our side. But the minute we violate that trust or are not accountable and forthcoming about any breach, we can lose them forever.

As women become more and more aware that we truly are what we eat and feed to our families, they are seeking alternatives to sugar and corn syrup solids. And so, for example, the purveyors of sodas are beginning to find themselves in an evolutionary dead end. And if you think I’m crazy, just look at the spate of acquisitions or divestments by the soda and other big food giants in recent years, and the extraordinary prices they’ve paid for alternatives like Sobe, Vitamin Water, Odwalla, Naked Juice, or Honest Tea. Indeed every large food company in America has bought or invested in an emerging organic brand. It’s because they see the market organically drifting towards not only natural and healthy offerings, but away from the poisons that make us obese, cause diabetes, cancers, and more.

It’s too bad that many of these giants have not in fact decided to concentrate on making the world a better place, because in the long run that would be better for them, and for all of us. Better for them, because that’s what women, in increasing numbers, want. Like my soccer girls, women are tuned in and connected to the world around them. They xiii may not have the time or interest to picket or protest, but they want to feel good about the brands they support. And better for us, because business truly has the power to expedite the changes we need to make the planet healthier and safer.

At Stonyfield, we feed those good feelings by all that we do. We are 100% organic. We buy milk and all ingredients from family farmers and we pay them a fair and sustainable price for their quality goods. We use only organic ingredients—no artificial sweeteners, dyes, or thickeners—and we refuse to compromise even when it would make us more profitable. We give 10% of our profits to environmental efforts. We use our packaging to promote causes that help foster a healthy planet. We were the first manufacturer in America to offset 100% of the C02 emissions from our manufacturing, a full decade before the release of Al Gore’s film. We built a waste treatment facility that generates its own clean-burning gas that we use to run the facility. We collect used yogurt cups and turn them into toothbrushes and flower pots. We formed a new nonprofit called Climate Counts to stimulate climate activism, which you can read about later in this book.

I am convinced that these are the reasons we are growing so fast.

The really cool thing about this argument and this book is that Lisa and Lisa are showing us a way that we just might be able to save the planet. By marshalling the forces of loyalty, connectedness, empathy, and the desire to make our purchase dollars count for something good, we just might be able to persuade business to increase investments in cleaning up the mess we’ve created for future generations. To me, that is the most important message of this book, as well as my own. As my late friend Anita Roddick used to say: Anyone who thinks they are too small to make a difference has never been in bed with a mosquito.

Women are connectors. And most women get the fact that we aren’t exactly leaving our children and grandchildren such a great deal. They are beginning to get the idea that they can use their purchase power to redirect resources and activities towards preventing pollution, climate change, and war. Like with my soccer girls, the key is to stimulate the natural tendency of women to feel, to seek solutions, and to coalesce as a team to march in lockstep toward these essential goals.

Lisa and Lisa have pulled together some brilliant insights and examples. I have no doubt that their unassailable arguments about how to successfully leverage the transformative power of women in today’s society will excite many men and women to explore the bountiful xiv opportunities of cooperation—with both nature and ourselves. I am honored and humbled to introduce this superb and inspiring book, and am grateful to the authors for their hopeful contribution.

Gary Hirshberg

Londonderry, NH



What Is the She Spot?

A few years ago during the 2004 election, a coalition of get-out-the-vote organizations asked Lisa Witter to advise them on their Women’s Voting Day campaign, including the beta design for the campaign’s Web site.

When she clicked on the URL, the home page was wreathed in pink flowers. The content was focused exclusively on choice and soft issues like education and healthcare to the exclusion of issues like the War in Iraq, jobs, and national security—issues that polling showed were, in fact, top-of-mind for the majority of women voters.

The coalition deserved credit for identifying women as an important target audience. But then they hit two blind spots that, as communications consultants for the public sector, we see all too often: One, by relegating their outreach to women to a single day, they were missing out on an enormous opportunity to connect with the demographic powerhouse that has shaped presidential elections for the past 20 years. Two, their efforts to appeal to women were off the mark, reflecting a poor understanding of what women actually care about and respond to.

We wrote this book to correct these blind spots and find the She Spot instead. By She Spot, we mean taking to heart this central truth: Women are not a niche audience. They are the audience. Losing these blind spots and finding the She Spot starts with recognizing that xvi